Darian Totten, Associate Professor (on sabbatic leave 2023-2024)
Ph.D., M.A. Stanford University
B.A. University of Chicago
Darian Totten’s research interests include the economy and society of the Roman Mediterranean, landscape studies, Late Antiquity, and the transition to the early Middle Ages.
In her dissertation, Thinking Regionally: Rural landscapes and economic connections in Roman southern Italy, she investigated the intersection of local and larger-scale economic activity in the rural contexts of this region from the 1st-6th centuries C.E., employing archaeological, epigraphic, and literary evidence. She’s currently transforming and extending this study into her first book on the long term social and economic development (and connections) of southern Italy in the Roman and Late Antique period.
In addition to her research on the ancient Roman past, Darian is also concerned with the contemporary management and deployment of archaeological heritage, especially in Italy. To date, she’s published on the uses of Etruscan heritage in Italy to think about how identities and places are made in an increasingly global world. Darian also engages practices of public archaeology in her current fieldwork at Salapia, described below.
Darian has participated in excavations and field surveys in many places in the Mediterranean, primarily in Italy, for more than a decade, including the Roman Forum: post-Aedem Castoris project, Lemnos (Greece), central Italy (near both Rieti and Falerii), and at the villa sites of Villa Magna (Lazio) and Faragola (Puglia).
Currently, Darian is co-director of the Salapia Exploration Project, with Italian colleagues Dott. Roberto Goffredo and Dott. Giovanni de Venuto of the Università di Foggia. This is a comprehensive survey and excavation project designed to investigate both the human built landscapes and long-term environmental change of the Salpi Lagoon, along the Adriatic coast of Puglia, Italy. Excavation has thus far focused on the port site of Roman Salapia (1st c. BCE to 7th c. CE), to reveal and analyze patterns of urban life and trading connections there from the 1st c. BCE to the 7th c. CE. Future work is planned in areas reoccupied by the Medieval settlement of Salpi and in the broader lagoon context. Through the Open Salapia initiative, the team integrates community participation and conversation into the study of Salapia and the landscapes of the lagoon, to better understand the historical, social, and cultural meaning of these places for all stakeholders.